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Team Draft Picks by Standing (x2 Draft Media)

x2 Draft Media

It’s common knowledge that some organizations in the SHL move around draft picks as disposable assets. They can appear as a  nameless, faceless commodity to be used in the pursuit of a deal. Something that, given the lack of the immediate human connection of an actual player, is just abstract enough that it doesn’t always hurt to pick. Oftentimes, draft picks don’t pan out, and that mindset is vindicated. But just as often, teams are able to restore their talent pool through cheaply acquired picks — and a smart manager can even use them to circumvent the usual intent of the draft: that weaker teams get better picks, to ensure lesser teams have a chance to build future success.

The purpose of this little survey is just to examine how teams look this year, comparing their picks and the position of those picks against their regular season standing. Of course, this doesn’t reflect how draft positions are fully decided, given it doesn’t take into account the playoffs. But, basing it on regular season standings gives a clear indication of which teams are strong, and which aren’t, over an extended campaign.

This survey is also going to examine only the top three rounds: while the fourth round can still house some good players, usually ones who have a second wind in development after falling off, the top three rounds of picks make up the more commonly shopped (and traded)assets, as well as the lion’s share of the SHL-calibre picks. In fact, the first two rounds are probably better situated under that definition. But there are enough third round surprises that those selections shouldn’t be written off entirely.


Steelhawks 1st: Hamilton Steelhawks: x1 2nd (33rd OA) x2 3rd (39th OA, 54th OA)

This one is about what you would expect. The Steelhawks, the most successful team this season out of the East (and the Challenge Cup champions, to boot) are lacking selections. Their deals have left them without much opportunity to really fill out their depth chart, with their 33rd and 39th selections the most likely to yield results — though they’ll be something of a gamble. But, having just won a cup, one doubts they’ll be particularly upset by it.

syndicate 2nd: Chicago Syndicate: x1 2nd (34th OA) x1 3rd (45th) OA

The Chicago Syndicate are also at a deficit for picks, and their situation largely mirrors the Steelhawks. They’re a successful team which has earned that success, at least in part, by trades which have left them unable to pick until the latter half of the second round. They could still get something valuable, but it’s down to luck — and maybe player development and engagement.

Rage 3rd: Manhattan Rage: x1 1st (13th OA)

Manhattan kept their first round selection, so despite their solid season they’ve been rewarded with a decent draft position at 13th. They’re going to be likely crossing a whole lot of names off their draft-board and going with whoever’s left once their name is called, but there’s no doubting that they will have a very good chance at a future roster player.

Stampede 4th: Buffalo Stampede: x1 1st (17th OA) x2 3rd (46th OA, 53rd OA)

One week ago, this team would have been a lot more interesting to talk about. You had a recent cup champion, still doing very well for themselves in the league, with the third overall pick. Ultimately, the Stampede are not to serve as the best example of why not to trade your first round picks: in the end, they have a low first round pick, no seconds, and some thirds. The first might prove valuable, but the thirds will be shots in the dark.

Inferno 5th: Atlanta Inferno: x1 1st (11th OA) x1 2nd (29th OA) x1 3rd (47th OA)

Atlana held on to all of their selections, and so they were rewarded with a pretty solid mid-first round pick, and a second that’s still high enough to feasibly pick up someone underrated. For a team that finished the season with a .530 win percentage, that’s not bad, and it’s going to give Atlanta ample opportunity to continue to develop their team moving forward.

Wolfpack 6th: New England Wolfpack: x2 1st (9th OA, 10th OA) x2 2nd (27th OA, 35th OA)

The Wolfpack are sitting in a pretty good position in this year’s draft. Two top ten picks back to back, along with a decent second and a late second to round out four picks in the first two rounds. With the talent available, they should be feeling pretty confident that they can walk out of this draft having really improved their franchise in the longterm.

Stars 7th: Toronto North Stars: No Available Picks

Toronto had a couple of firsts coming into the off-season, but they opted to move them in favour of a player they valued more highly. As a result, Toronto won’t draft until the fourth round — and might not draft at all, at that stage.

Barracuda 8th: Tampa Bay Barracuda: x1 1st (1st OA) x1 2nd (28th OA) x1 3rd (42nd OA)

As much as I could make some note about how the middle of the second round isn’t a bad spot, or how a 42nd overall pick might yield a roster player with a little luck, those kinds of polite statements about low picks aren’t needed in the case of Tampa Bay. They have the first overall pick, so they have the unique opportunity — and the challenge — of picking exactly who they want. They have a unique opportunity to inject yet more talent into their rebuild. They just have to make sure it’s a good one: if a first round pick busts, that’s one thing. If the first overall pick busts, people are going to be bringing it up for the next twenty seasons. No pressure!

Platoon 9th: Baltimore Platoon: x1 2nd (24th OA) x1 3rd (38th OA)

Here’s where we go back to trying to say nice things about second round picks. Well, maybe that’s not fair — 24th overall is legitimately within range of picking up a solid prospect. But for the worst team in the East, and one of the worst teams in the league, it has to hurt at least a little that the first round pick they traded away is one of the highest in the draft. They can still make it work, but they’re in the unenviable position of having traded their picks and placed low.


Dragons 1st: Calgary Dragons: x1 1st (14th OA) x1 2nd (31st OA) x1 3rd (50th OA)

Calgary had a good team this year, as they usually do, and they all retained their first round pick. They have every opportunity to continue their tradition of restocking their roster as they go, ensuring a constant flow of young players into their depth chart so that they always have a next player up. Whether they go with someone new or they go back to their tried and true alumni pipeline is another question, and depends who is available and when — but whatever you think of them, Calgary is a team that tends to do pretty well with its, usually low, picks.

Renegades 2nd: Texas Renegades: No Picks Available

Texas hates drafting just as much as Toronto does, evidently. They have no picks until the fourth round, and again, they might not even show up to the draft at that point. But, unlike Toronto, they had a successful team this season.

Blizzard 3rd: Edmonton Blizzard: x1 1st (15th OA) x1 3rd (51st OA)

Despite their success, Edmonton holding onto a first round pick will mean a solid addition to their system. There isn’t a whole lot to say here, but they’re also a team that has developed a reputation for success in the draft. At one point, Edmonton had developed a reputation for spuriously trading away picks to avoid the draft at all costs. Those days, it seems, are well and truly over.

Specters 4th: New Orleans Specters: x4 1st (4th OA, 12th OA, 16th OA, 18th OA) x2 2nd (21st OA, 22nd OA)

There’s no getting around it. This draft might very well be the New Orleans draft. No, they don’t have the top pick, but four first round picks and two very high seconds means they stand to, with smart selections, walk out of this draft with their team’s core for the next generation. But even if things don’t go that rosy, they’ve got so many picks they can take a couple busts and still feel good about walking out on a positive note.

Panthers 5th: Los Angeles Panthers: x2 1st (3rd OA, 8th OA) x1 2nd (26nd OA) x1 3rd (44th OA)

The Panthers are another team which has carved out a nice little set of draft picks for themselves, despite posting a record above .500. With two top ten picks, they stand to benefit greatly from this year’s draft. Given their unexpected management turnover is still within recent memory, this year’s selections should serve as another step in fostering the identity of the new Panthers, whatever shape that takes. And, given where they’re picking, that’s probably going to be with highly touted prospects.

Jets 6th: Winnipeg Jets: x2 1st (5th OA, 6th OA) x1 2nd (25th OA) x1 3rd (43rd OA)

The Winnipeg Jets have some work to do when it comes to improving their current scheme for prospect development. But as a team with a fair few established figures that are probably really overdue for a winning season, this year’s draft is going to give them plenty of opportunity to see through the necessary positive changes. Back to back picks that high are always fun, and their second is pretty well-placed too. With luck, this will be the season that the Jets begin a positive trend upwards. There’s no better time to make changes than with the addition of a couple of top ten picks.

Argonauts 7th: Seattle Argonauts: x2 2nd (20th OA, 23rd OA) x2 3rd (41st OA, 49th OA)

It’s obviously not ideal for a team as low down in the standings as Seattle to be walking into a draft without a first round pick, so their objective is likely going to be to trying to ensure that those two high second round picks wind up producing a good quality return. But, as we’ve seen a couple times already, Seattle is a team that could have had one of the top picks — but doesn’t.

Monarchs 8th: Minnesota Monarchs: x1 1st (2nd OA) x1 2nd (30th OA) x1 3rd (40th OA)

The Monarchs are likely going to get a very good play at second overall, and given the choice between the top two or three players is largely uncertain, they’re actually in a position to get their first choice if Tampa Bay should be looking in a different direction to them. The 30th overall pick is more of an uncertainty, but it’s hard to complain about a draft when you’re picking in the top three. They need the help, and with a little luck, they could get it this year.

pride 9th: San Francisco Pride: x1 1st (7th OA) x3 2nd (19th OA, 32nd OA, 36th OA) x3 3rd (37th OA, 48th OA, 52nd OA)

As the worst team in the league, the Pride’s natural pick is the 2nd overall selection held by Minnesota. Due to their trades, they’re going to be making do with a 7th overall instead. That’s still quite a good selection to work with, and more than likely they’re going to get one of the players they’re looking at. To sweeten their draft somewhat, they’re also sitting on a mountain of late picks. The 19th overall might as well be a late first round pick, and while the 32nd, 36th, and 37th picks are more of a toss-up, they’ve got enough that they can stand to just take risks on whoever’s left that they think might turn out. It should be a productive draft for the Pride, to say the least.


So, what did we learn from all of this?

Probably nothing. But you can start to get a picture for just how chaotic these drafts really are, with a lot of the middling teams filling out the upper half of the first round, and some of the lesser teams sitting out of the the most important stages of the draft entirely. This year isn’t the most extreme example of it, but looking at how many teams traded away picks that turned out to be higher than ones they can currently play with — and how many of those teams are in a position that they might want to consider pushing for more youth — you start to get an idea for how much of a risk trading selections can really be.

As is usually the case, we really won’t know how much any of this matters until a few seasons down the line. Baltimore could walk out of the draft with the best player at 24th overall and make everyone doubting them for trading picks look foolish. New Orleans could have most of their picks bust. Teams might make good picks, and then be forced to turn them into bad trades given personal conflicts. But, whatever happens, one thing is obvious: trading your picks makes the SHL draft a bizarre little web.

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Signature Credit: enigmatic


Draft is for nerds like @luketd

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11-21-2020, 04:39 PMml002 Wrote: Draft is for nerds like @luketd

first 1st rounder since S53

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